Events

[2020-09-07] International day of clean air for blue skies

By 2020년 9월 9일 No Comments
Source: 세계일보

On September 7th 2020, an article from Korea JoongAng daily was published celebrating the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies that was organized by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and embassies in Seoul.

During the event Chairman Ban gave a commemorative speech regarding the current COVID-19 Crisis and how we must build back greener post COVID-19. “According to WHO research results, air pollution itself causes premature deaths of 
7 million people a year, which is more than 6 million people dying from smoking every year.” He stated.

Source: 뉴스1

Chairman Ban also spoke on the current climate issue. “Although the effects of COVID-19 are immediate, climate change is occurring gradually, so it may not be felt right away. However, the climate crisis is a wide and serious threat to humanity in its intensity and impact incomparable to COVID-19.”

In addition he stated,  “COVID-19 is fundamentally changing our lives so that we cannot go back to the past. In addition to the need for international cooperation based on health issues and multilateralism, this pandemic presented many implications for human life in general, such as air pollution and climate change 
responses.”

He concluded the speech urging individuals at the event to take action. “We are now at a very important global historical inflection point ahead of the transition to a green paradigm and the transition to a new climate regime in 2021 according to the Paris Climate Change Convention as a countermeasure for the economic crisis of COVID-19.”

To read the full article, please visit Korea JoonAng Daily’s website

 

To view the collaboration of celebration remarks, please visit the Department of the Environment’s official YouTube Channel

 

Below is the Full Script of Chairman Ban Ki-moon’s Speech

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-hwa, 
Seungjo Yang, Governor of Chungnam Province,

 

Representatives of diplomatic missions in Korea and international organizations,

 

Honorable guests connected with Webinar nationally and internationally, welcome to the 
2020 “The 1st International Day of Clean Air for the Blue Sky” commemorative event.

 

On September 7th, the’Blue Sky Day’ was designated by the UN in 2019.
I am very pleased to celebrate the first anniversary in Seoul, New York, Bangkok and Nairobi in commemoration of today.

On September 23, last year, the UN Climate Action Summit in U.S. President Moon Jae-in proposed the “UN Blue Sky Resolution,” and after an unusually quick discussion, the anniversary resolution was adopted at the UN General Assembly in December. Through this proposal we were able to understand the international community’s high interest and desire for clean air.

According to WHO research results, air pollution itself  causes premature deaths of 
7 million people a year, which is more than 6 million people dying from smoking every year.Air pollution
 is a fundamental threat to the survival of mankind. Experts say the climate crisis is the root cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, and air pollution has made it worse (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health).COVID-19 is fundamentally changing our lives so that we cannot go back to the past. In addition to the need for international cooperation based on health issues and multilateralism, this pandemic presented many implications for human life in general, such as air pollution and climate change 
responses.

In April, the Pope said, “COVID-19 is a natural response to the human-induced climate crisis.” COVID-19 is the result of environmental destruction by humans. In November of last year, the National Climate Environment Conference held the 1st International Forum joint with the UN ESCAP, launched the Best Practice Sharing Partnership on air pollution and climate change response among countries.

 

Sharing Best Practices In order to further develop the partnership, we are pleased to announce a partnership between local governments and a start-up innovation partnership with this 9.7 Blue Sky Day celebration.

 

 

Although the effects of COVID-19 are immediate, climate change is occurring gradually, so it may not be felt right away. However, the climate crisis is a wide and serious threat to humanity in its intensity and impact incomparable to COVID-19  Heavy rain this summer, which hit East Asia, was recorded as the longest and late rainy season, especially in Korea. In addition, as can be seen from wildfires in Australia and California, 
extreme climate phenomena such as drought, floods, typhoons, and wildfires are frequent occuring throughout the earth



There is no doubt that these natural disasters are due to climate change. More importantly, the disasters we are currently experiencing are just the “beginning” of the climate crisis.

 

Nevertheless, I want to see hope even in difficult situations. As it is called the paradox of COVID-19, it is worth remembering that last spring, when activities of each country stopped due to the pandemic, 
ironically, we were able to see a clearer blue sky more often than before. I believe that if we strive with a sense of crisis and sincerity of international cooperation and solidarity, we will find clues to solving the problem.

 

Such a solution should not be the traditional method of strengthening and returning to the carbon economy, but a fundamental green transition. Already, major advanced countries such as the US and EU are preparing for a green transition represented by the Green New Deal. The Korean government is also proposing to leap from a “carbon-dependent economy to a low-carbon economy” as one of the visions of the Korean version of the New Deal.

 

Since mankind has lived a carbon economy-centered lifestyle so far, it may face difficulties in the short term during the green transition process. However, if we continue to ignore the warnings of nature, including COVID-19, to imagine a dark future facing an irreversible climate crisis, we will realize that the inconvenience we face for the time being is an extremely small price. Dear guests, We are now at a very important global historical inflection point ahead of the transition to a green paradigm and the transition to a new climate regime in 2021 according to the Paris Climate Change Convention as a countermeasure for the economic crisis of COVID-19.


As proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in order to achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a Net-Zero in 2050; in order to reduce the global average temperature of 1.5℃, A way must be devised. The decisions we make now will dictate the future of our humanity and the planet, beyond the next 10 and 100 years.

 

This is the reason we are here today and the purpose of this commemorative event. We all have the duty and right to protect and enjoy the blue skies and clean air, and we hope that today’s discussion of deep insights and wisdom will contribute to a step in climate action. Thank you.